Root canal treatment (also known as Endodontics) is a procedure whereby dead or damaged nerves and blood vessels are removed from the inside of an affected tooth and replaced with a protective filling. It is a very effective treatment with a high success rate.
Endodontic treatment is required when bacteria enters the pulp of the tooth, making it very painful and swollen. This is often as a result of decay, trauma or a crack developing in the tooth. The Endodontist will delicately clean out the root canals and remove all the damaged tissue and bacteria. This process shapes the inside of the tooth which can then be filled with a replacement material, usually gutta percha, which prevents the bacteria returning and thus allows the tooth to heal.
Root canal treatment can be quite a long procedure but is usually painless. A small amount of discomfort is normal after treatment but this can be managed with painkillers available over the counter.
Occasionally the treatment is unsuccessful and the tooth becomes re-infected. This happens in scenarios where the procedure is not straightforward. For example, there can be extra nerve canals in teeth or even "lateral" canals running at right angles to the main nerve canal. Specialist equipment is often necessary to complete these more difficult cases. Unsuccessful treatment doesn’t mean that the tooth has to be extracted. Often the filling can be removed, the canal cleaned and a new root filling placed.
Dr Andrew Stevenson, the Principal at Kew Road Dental, has a special interest in endodontics and has been working in the field for over 20 years. He performs all the root treatments at the practice in Richmond and uses the latest techniques available. He also likes to keep his knowledge updated by regularly attending endodontic courses both in London and abroad. He takes on a wide range of cases ranging from simple procedures through to the more complex retreatments.
The image on the left below shows a lower, molar tooth with an infection visible as dark circles at the end of the roots. After a successful root treatment, which can be seen as white lines within the roots in the image on the right, the infection at the ends of the roots has now been resolved.
A very large infection is visible above the roots in the x-ray shown below on the left. Even infections of this size can be treated successfully with root canal treatment, as shown in the image on the right.
Below left is an example of a tooth which has had a problematic root filling. The existing filling material can be removed and replaced with a new filling (below right).
This final example shows a tooth with a perforation or “hole” in the side of the root causing an infection. This has been repaired with a different material called MTA and the infection has once again resolved.
Take a look at our fees & finance section to find outFees & Finance